I had been tracking flights with Skyscanner over the last few months. I had set an alert and I find it handy to get an idea of prices. Just beware of extra brilliant prices on flights-often it means many stopovers.
I decided to book directly with Etihad as their flights were coming out reasonable and I have flown with them before and collect air miles with them.
I rang the call centre. This would be unusual for me the techie, but as it is such a long flight I wanted to get it right and I also had two extra requests:
- The flight stops in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to extend the stop for a few days on return
- Could I bring extra bags of books and resources for the schools in Dar Es Salaam?
Etihad's main hub is Abu Dhabi but they operate a free shuttle bus to Dubai which is an hour away. I have worked my flights to fly into Abu Dhabi at 8pm, shuttle to Dubai and spend 3 nights there. My flight home leaves at 2am so I will actually take the shuttle bus to Abu Dhabi at 10am the day before, have a full day there in the city sightseeing before checking back into the airport at midnight to fly home. The lady on reservations also told me that I can check in my luggage in Dubai on boarding the shuttle bus.
After 6 weeks in Tanzania, the UAE will be a total contrast and a major culture shock but a lot of fun too.
On the tickets I have booked I can already check in two bags of 23kg each but Etihad have a department supporting charity work and it is possible to email them with proof of charity organisation and permission may be granted for extra luggage.
First stop is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for travel information for Irish citizens traveling to Tanzania.
I have to double check the visa requirements and also need to book an appointment with my doctor to check all my travel vaccinations are up to date.
Of course my travel book of choice is The Lonely Planet. I usually buy the book locally but this time I decided to buy online to get the best of both worlds: hard copy and electronic format. The Tanzania travel guide bundle came to €27.95.